It does the final portion of the game justice, by adding to the original story considerably by adding new charter development events and interactions. They also outdid themselves with the fight animations as well as the lighting used especially as the film goes on. If you have watched the other films or played the game the music and sound are the about the same they are well done but at this point, there is not a lot of variation. That being said one of my personal favorite parts include the use of a song featured in Persona 4 Dancing all Night. I would recommend this
to anybody and if you played the game you should watch it twice, just because.
Persona 3 has always and will always be one of my favorite games that I have ever played. From the characters and interpersonal relationships to the themes of life and death gave me an experience that was unique and irreplaceable.
Persona # the Movie 4: Winter of Rebirth is an amazing adaptation, while staying true to the source material as needed it also added something that the P3 game was in lack of during the arrival of Nyx. The characters' strife's, struggles and development in the face of seemingly inevitable death; the movie made me feel once again the bonds between these characters as they
search for the answer to life as well as death. In my personal opinion I believe that A-1 Pictures did an outstanding job at recreating one of my fondest memories and adding to them with this movie. With dialogue and music straight from the game, to the amazing animation and detail and finally nailing the characters perfectly in this final installation, I find it hard not to give this movie a 10/10
I don't get how this movie (and the persona animations in general) get 9s and 10s. They have always had rushed episodes, subpar art and animation, and in the case of the P3 films, go through progresively worse directors and scriptwriters as the films go on. I went into this particular film exprcting a swift end to the shitstorm of a series this was. To my surprise, however, we got 40 striaght minutes of fantastic character development and internal conflicts being expanded on in the wake of what is thought to be the last days of humanity, catalyzed by their own actions. We see
the city fill with apathy syndrome sufferers, and eventually just empty out altogether, leaving a feeling of isolation and dread. I was caught off gaurd with how well the movie captured this environment and these feelings so well, and I was excited for the conclusion of this movie, where every member of SEES overcomes their trials alone and evenyually comes back stronger than ever with a goal to defeat and seal Nyx.
Then the sun came out.
The emotially manipulative music blasted over our cast magically getting over their problems through one random deus ex machina event one after another, just in time for the big generic bad guy fight (But not without showing off all the Personas we are contractually obligated to shoehorn in!).
In only 5 minutes, the movie managed to shit the bed so hard with the hollow resolutions to each character arc that had been elaborated on in the movie. For example, Mitsuru knocks a photo over because the sun is in her eyes for the first time in weeks, and finds a key in the frame. She goes to her mansion, and a maid directs her to a locked room where her (dead) father kept wine that was bought on the year of her birth, and he meant to share it with her on her 18th birthday. He died earlier in the series, and for the last couple of movies she has done her best to get over her depression over it. The scene then ends, cutting to another bullshit asspull. Keep in mind this whole scene was 30 seconds, and wasn't even the most insulting (Fuuka's character resolution was literally sending her "friend" Natsuki a text, and eventally feeling happy that it didn't go through.)
In conclusion, unless you like anything Persona or SMT related, don't watch this. I could gp on about how the animation can be stilted and lazy at times, or how the character are mere husks of their in-game counterparts, or how the music and game are placed oddly and awkardly, but this is becoming a wall of text already. I'll end with this. This movie is a more of a promotional movie for Persona 3 than an actual "Film". Don't watch this if you want a deep drama. Watch this for the desu anime friendship squad.
Once in a while there comes a fictional work, may it be a film, a game, a novel, anything, which you define as something like a life changing experience. When i put the Persona 3 disk into my PS2 drive all those years back i would have never though what huge impact this piece of art made by japanese developer ATLUS would have on me. A game, that not only deals with the psychological issues of its characters, but also acts as a (for a game at least) deep analysis of the nature of death and loss and how people deal and come to terms
with it in a modern day setting, was not only something new to me back then, but it totally caught me off guard. What ATLUS created, was a game that is much more than the sum of its parts, a groundbreaking and fresh experience that hasn`t been done before and in many ways broke conventions that were chaining down the gaming industry.
Then, in 2013 the first Persona 3 movie in the quadrilogy was released. I didn`t have high expectations (but i have to admit studio AIC A.S.T.A. did a good job with the Persona 4 anime) and all in all the film turned out to be quite entertaining. When they changed the studio for the upcoming films to A-1 pictures, though, it was really something to look forward to and the second movie really was a step up from the first one. Still i felt that it really didn`t do anything extraordinary. They only retold the story segment of the game without much artistic vision. This was also the case with the third film. Needless to say, that my expections for "Winter of Rebirth" weren`t the highest.
Oh boy, somethimes it feels good to be wrong...
Winter of Rebirth starts exactly where Falling Down ended, there is no huge gap like between the previous films. We get to see quite an epic fight scene with a certain character and then the film quickly forms its basic premise: Our heroes get to know that the world will end within less than two months and they have no way of stopping it. Within the first 20 minutes or so we see a hole lot of suffering and angst and how the inhabitants of Iwatodai slowly loose hope or get affected by apathy syndrom within a "mentally" decaying world... and a dead cat.^^ If you expect an action filled final movie you may get disappointed. Winter of Rebirth is character drama in its most perfect form with very little action. Hell, finally it`s Persona 3.^^
As you may have guessed, the whole movie centers around our main characters and how they deal with the situation. We see them fall into depression, blame each other, become apathetic and even borderline suicidal while struggling with the choice Ryoji gave them. Even though the game did an excellent job portraying the desperation our heroes had to face, i have to admit the film truly does it justice, hell it even goes beyond that. Director Tomohisa Taguchi was able to create extremely potent scenes that will crawl under your skin, especially if you have a deep connection with the characters in the first place. Next to that, there are some scenes that weren`t in the game, that add even more facets to the characters. Of cause there is the moment of catharsis for our heroes, but i don`t want to spoil anything, just let me state that some scenes will even make grown up men cry like little schoolgirls.^^ Just to make it short: The pacing of the film, even though it`s mostly character drama is almost perfect, if not for one flaw: Right after the character drama is resolved there is a sharp cut right onto the action of the final act. There is no build up, which basically makes the final confrontation, at least to me, much less immersive or exciting.
But enough of the story and characters, let me adress one of the strongest points of the film: The artistic direction. I can`t stress this out enough, the team behind the film created one of the visually most impressive anime i`ve seen in recent memory. It`s not only that the animation is great and fluid (and believe me, it is otherworldly at times), but nearly EVERY scene is either shot in a very special (remarkable) way or underlined with stylistic devices. Sometimes it`s a little bit blatant (we all know what a natural barrier in the frame like a tree between two characters means - no need to replicate the same shot three times), sometimes it`s genious (like the shadows of falling snowflakes in a very melancholic scene - one of the most beautiful moments in the film). BTW: If you watch it, try to notice how they used the wide angle shot on the rooftop in the final scene of the film and what it signifies - truly a piece of art... If that`s not enough, you will truly wish to have seen it in the cinema thanks to the amazing OST by Tetsuya Kobayashi.
Winter of Rebirth was really a huge surprise. Not that the previous films were terrible, but they couldn`t really compete with the game (which i stated was nearly a religious experience for me). The final film does not only catch the essence of the best moments of the game, but stands as a truly unforgettable film on its own, thanks to amazing direction and artistic vision. Instead of just retelling the same story piece by piece, the added scenes (and little deviations from the game) give the characters and the world they want to save new layers that are more than welcome. Before i forget it: There are alot of scenes and easter eggs that are specifically for the fans of the game (the Elizabeth scene was amazing). Actually the only thing that keeps me from giving it a "masterpiece" (10/10) status is the transition to the final act and the lack of any build up to the final confrontation. Nonetheless, Winter of Rebirth is without a doubt the by far strongest film in the quadrilogy and definitely one of the best video game adaptations.
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